Cichlid breeders: Is this normal?

  • #1
I work at a pet store and we sell a few varieties of cichlids in our fish section. I don't know much about breeding cichlids so I'm not really sure what is going on here or if it is related.

I'm honestly amazed these guys are comfortable enough to even try breeding, I hate that we have to keep them in such cramped conditions but my managers have very little say over how we keep our fish, corporate has rules and we get in trouble if we don't follow them.

Anyway, in this particular tank there are two different pairs that have decided to breed. They have both laid eggs at least twice but I have only seen one or two batches of eggs actually hatch. The first lot to hatch actually survived surprisingly long, they made it about a week before they started disappearing. Any other lots that hatched after that did not last more than a day or so. The fact that they're not successfully breeding isn't the problem though, we aren't trying to breed these guys, they're just here to be sold.

My question is what the heck is this?


This black gunk appears every time one of the pairs tries breeding, and only when they do that. Most of the time it's not there but as soon as I notice eggs I also see this black gunk shortly after. I have no idea where it is coming from. I vacuum it up immediately when I see it because it doesn't look like something that would be good for the water, but what the heck is it? And is it related to the cichlids breeding? Should I worry about it? Should I be cleaning it up?

For reference, here is what the tank looks like, including tank inhabitants.


The plants are in terrible condition, I know, but it's mostly black algae so that wouldn't be actually damaging the water, would it? The plants themselves are still alive, so there aren't dead plants rotting in the water.

I don't remember which species these are, but one pair is a normal striped and then an albino, and the other pair is two striped ones I believe. This picture was taken when the striped and albino pair were breeding (you can see them in the back left corner of the tank). They guard their eggs pretty diligently but none of the fish have been injured in any way, everyone is still healthy and they do very well at staying away from the eggs. If I had the appropriate tanks at home I'd take the breeding pairs home myself and learn how to raise cichlid fry because it is fascinating watching these guys breed, but I just don't have the space for it right now.

So is the black stuff related to the breeding cichlids or no? What is it and should I be worried about it?

  • #2
I maybe wrong but I believe its a combo of decaying objects and opportunistic fungi/algae
  • #3
I would only assume that they are cleaning a area to lay the eggs. What you are seeing is algae, waste, and anything else they can pick off the rock/breeding site moved to a "dump" of sorts.
  • #4
Those are Convict Cichlids.
The dark ones are the normal Convict, and the other are Albinos. They are true Albinos If they have red eyes.
They breed very very easily. You should tell your manager to sell them as a pair.
  • #5
The white ones are called Pink Convicts, and are not albinos. They are a long standing color variety of the striped Convict Cichlids. They can and will interbreed happily.

As suggested, I suspect the gunk is just stuff moved by the pairs to clear an area for spawning. Odd that they would move it to one area, but some behavior can be unpredictable.
  • #6
Thanks Chromedome for the correction. Some places around here they call them Albinos. But I never considered they were, because of the lack of red eyes, as opposed to the black eyes.

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